Surrounded by seven mountains and overlooking the sea, Bergen is majestic. It comes as no surprise this storybook village was reportedly the inspiration for Anna and Elsa’s home kingdom of Arendelle (you know, the Disney movie Frozen!). The city itself is very walkable, and the public transportation is easy to navigate.
Bergen is a gateway to the fjords, and is everything you dream a Scandinavian city would be. From colorful wooden houses lining cobbled streets to a thriving seaport, this destination is incredibly family friendly. Before visiting we read that it would be nearly impossible to get around with a stroller (because of the cobble streets), but I found that to be far from the truth. We never had any issues.
Bergen is a culturally rich and naturally beautiful city deserving of any families attention! It is also one of the rainiest cities in the world – raining about 240 days of the year (with September and October being the most heavy rain). HOWEVER, I don’t know how we got to lucky in September (maybe all my prayers), but we had nothing but beautiful sunshine for 6 glorious days. It was the warmest weather on our whole trip – with ever local we met telling us they had no idea why it wasn’t raining (a particularly fun memory from the trip).
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Bergen or our trip please shoot us an email!
About 40 minutes south of Bergen, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, lies Panorama Hotell & Resort. With it’s proximity to hiking trails and location on the ocean coast, this is an excellent choice for families. When you walk outside there is silence, and all you can hear is calm water lapping against boats, or a bird soaring through the air. It is truly an escape where you can’t help but feel a calmness come over you.
We had the pleasure of staying 5 nights – split between a superior room and a fjord suite. Our superior room had an ocean view, king bed, gorgeous bathroom, and two additional beds for the kiddos.
The fjord suite was nothing short of a dream. Located on the first floor we were waterfront with two bedrooms, a stunning kitchen, and washer/dryer. It was hard when we had to leave this resort!
The rooms were just the beginning of this beautiful hotel – they had fishing equipment for rent, boat rentals, kayak rentals, you name it – they had it. The ocean was your playground! And the views, you couldn’t possibly find a place that felt more Norway. With hot tubs on the top floor overlooking the sunset on the fjords, or the AMAZING play room they had for kids, we were ready to make this our full time home!
Hiking – We enjoyed some of the local hikes around the Panorama Hotell & Resort in Sotra. Depending on what you are looking for, reception has maps with so many options of trails nearby!
Vilvite Bergen Science Centre – We could have easily spent all day at this science centre where the whole family can discover more than 100 different exhibits. It is always nice to have somewhere the kids can play, and we may have played just as much if not more than them here! Highly recommend, check website for opening times as they can vary.
Bryggen – UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bryggen is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern harbor of Bergen. These colorful buildings with high pitched roofs are very atmospheric and are filled with shops and restaurants now. The alley’s are fun to explore here. This are makes for an amazing photo – but its best to be on the other side of the harbor to get the whole backdrop!
Bergen Fish Market – It is a neat area right next to Bryggen – but aside from the giant king crabs there isn’t that much to see here. The food was a bit overpriced and they had a lot of whale meat and seal oil which was not for us.
Fløibanen Funicular and Floyen Mounatin – Take the 6-minute ride up the Fløibanen Funicular to the top of Floyen Mountain to enjoy incredible views of the city and a day of fun in the Norwegian woods. There is a huge playground at the top which will entertain your little ones, as well as a troll forest where you can spot several trolls hiding in the woods. TIP: Get to the Fløibanen Funicular early – cruise ships bring floods of people here mid-day and the lines get long. Also, at the top of the mountain there is free rest rooms – bonus!
Mount Ulriken – Getting here was very challenging, as the road was under construction and we had to take several detours after getting off the bus. We still couldn’t tell you how we got here, but it was worth all the uphill stroller pushing and sweat! Mount Ulriken is the highest of the seven mountains that surround Bergen, making the views here second to none. We look the cable car, Ulriksbanen, to the top and explored for a bit.
Bergen Aquarium – We took a long walk to the Bergen Aquarium and enjoyed the wide variety of wildlife there. Arriving in the late afternoon we had the most fun looking at all the snakes and watching the penguin feeding – it was virtually empty so we enjoyed having the run of the place!
Fjord Tour Bergen – Mostraumen – We took a three-hour tour through the Fjords of Norway and it was worth the views. Our kids enjoyed looking out the windows at the waterfalls and stayed warm inside the cabin. The boat claimed they would stop at a waterfall and let us sample the fresh water they would catch, but that never happened. They did get very close and played dramatic music which was funny. Worth it for the views, pretty spectacular.
Lille Lungegårdsvannet – A small 5 acres lake in the centre of the city of Bergen. This is a great spot to stop and have a snack or lunch. It is lined with benches all around and is a beautiful spot to take a rest. We had some delicious sushi to go sitting here.
Rock n’ Roll American Diner – This was a fun diner with an actual car inside as a table, the atmosphere is a lot of fun. We parents had a delicious burger that we split, and our littles each got cheeseburgers. It is very expensive for kids to eat here, so I would probably choose the McDonald’s for the littles ones to save some money.
Ichiban Sushi – Go here instead of the fish market for sushi in Bergen! A bit of a walk, but it is SO good, the fish is fresh and the people are so kind. We got our sushi to go and ate it at Lille Lungegårdsvannet. A perfect way to end the day.
Trekroneren – If you are looking for a delicious hot dog that is executed perfectly, go here! Great prices, fresh toppings, and a wide variety of meat you can try. We came here twice it was so good. The reindeer sausage is the most popular and is a must try! There are no seats and it is take-away only.
Pingvinen – This marks the spot where we ate a meal “alone” on vacation for the first time. Both girls fell asleep, and slept through the whole meal in their stroller, allowing us to have an adults only meal (WOW). Delicious norwegian food, we tried the meatballs and fish pie.